The oldest known American survivor of World War II's infamous Bataan Death March has died at the age of 105—after living 55 years longer than doctors said he could expect to. Army captain Albert "Doc" Brown was among 78,000 American and Filipinos forced to trek 65 miles to a Japanese prisoner of war camp in the Philippines, enduring brutal treatment along the way. Some 11,000 died, but Brown survived both the march and three horrific years in a labor camp afterward, AP reports.
At the end of the war, the 6-foot Brown weighed just 90 pounds and was nearly blind. His injuries prevented him from resuming his pre-war career as a dentist. But he rebuilt his life, moving to California, returning to college, and eventually renting out apartments to some of the era's biggest Hollywood stars. "Doc’s story had as much relevance for today’s wounded warriors as it did for the veterans of his own era,” says the author of Brown biography Forsaken Heroes of the Pacific War: One Man’s True Story. “The underlying message for today’s returning veterans is that there’s hope, not to give in no matter how bleak the moment may seem. You will persevere and can find the promise of a new tomorrow, much like Doc had found."